Tawang’s biggest attraction is the magical Tawang Gompa, founded in 1681. Reputedly the world’s second-largest Buddhist-monastery complex after Drepung Monastery (in Lhasa, Tibet), Tawang is famed in Buddhist circles for its priceless library. Within its fortified walls, narrow alleys lead to the magnificently decorated prayer hall, containing an 8m-high Buddha statue. Come at dawn (4am to 5am) to see monks performing early-morning prayers. Spectacular masked chaam dances are held in the courtyard during the Torgya, Losar and Buddha Mahotsava festivals.

Across the central square and gleaming from a recent renovation job is a museum containing images, robes and telescopic trumpets, along with some personal items of the sixth Dalai Lama.